Lifeshield Security ReviewBy - 07/19/2018
Our Overall Rating
The Bottom Line
LifeShield is a company that’s been reinvented and tossed around. We first reviewed them in 2013, and at that time, they were far from new. That same year, they were acquired by DIRECTV. Unfortunately, after that, DIRECTV was acquired by AT&T which has its own home security system: Digital Life. I thought for sure that would be the last of LifeShield, but the leaders behind the system regrouped and decided to take the company back. LifeShield is once again an independent home security company and they’ve reinvented and perhaps even distinguished themselves by being the only traditional alarm company that works with IFTTT, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s first start from the top: Monitoring and Equipment.
4-Layer Protection Starts With the Base
LifeShield’s security system relies primarily on broadband communication, which means you’ll need high-speed internet in order for it to work. However, the base station LifeShield uses actually supports four communication methods.
Broadband is the primary means of communication for LifeShield Home Security. Although not considered the most reliable communication method for home security, broadband is the fastest method of communication.
The second communication layer is cellular, which is used by our top alarm companies. Cellular is considered the safest form of communication as it’s not prone to disruptions and there are no wires to cut. The cellular chip needed for this to work is built into the LifeShield base station.
The third layer of communication is called Cellular Text.
If all else fails, the base station can use your Landline Phone, assuming you have one. While this final method is the traditional communication method for home security systems, it’s far from reliable. Landlines are prone to disruptions and burglars can use wire-cutters to disable communication. Not relying solely on a landline is a good move by LifeShield.
Aside from the base station’s multiple means of communication, it’s also equipped with 24-hour battery backup. With or without internet or power, the LifeShield security system will continue protecting you for up to a day.
The base station also offers Smash & Crash Protection. This feature offers protection from intruders who might look for and destroy your alarm system. With Smash & Crash Protection, the base station will send a soft alert to the monitoring center the moment the intruder breaks in. The soft alert will become an active alert if the disarm PIN isn’t entered within a set time limit. Even if the intruder destroys the base station, the monitoring center will receive the alert.
Monitoring & Equipment Pricing
LifeShield offers three monitoring plans. The cheapest plan is Security Essential for $29.99 per month. Next is Security Advantage for $39.99 per month. And the most expensive package is Security Professional for $49.99 per month.
|Security Essential||Security Advantage||Security Professional|
|Fire and Carbon Monoxide Monitoring|
|Mobile App Access|
|Cloud Storage||30 Days||30 Days|
All three plans only cover the cost of monitoring. The security equipment is sold separately with an introductory price of $299.99.
The $299.99 kit is built for the Security Essential plan and includes a base station (with keypad and fob), a security tablet, a motion sensor, a fire safety sensor, and two entry sensors.
A second kit is available for $399.99, which is built for Security Advantage. With it, you’ll get an extra motion sensor, two more entry sensors, and an indoor security camera with 30 days of cloud storage plus everything included in the $299.99 kit.
The options above are all contract fee meaning that you can cancel your service at anytime. If you prefer, there’s also a third option, which doesn’t require an upfront equipment payment. If you’re willing to sign a 36-month contract, you can get started by paying a $99 activation fee.
|Security Essential Kit||Security Advantage/Professional Kit|
|Base Station||4-Layer Communication w/ Battery Backup||4-Layer Communication w/ Battery Backup|
|Fire Safety Sensor||1||1|
|Indoor Security Camera||1|
If you want to expand your equipment beyond what’s included, you can certainly do that. Devices are priced and sold individually.
- Entry Keypad $100
- Keychain Remote $50
- Security Touchpad $100
- Motion Sensor $100
- Door & Window Sensors $50
- Indoor Security Camera $140
- Glass Break Sensor $110
All that said, LifeShield is known for running promotional packages. We’ve seen everything from free equipment to three months of free monitoring to a free tablet. If you decide that LifeShield is for you, and your package doesn’t have everything you need, you might want to dig around to see if you can get something extra.
Regarding installation, LifeShield’s equipment is easy to install, even without the help of professionals. Most of the devices that are compatible with their system are also wireless (except for the base station which requires power, Ethernet, and a landline connection), so there’s no need to run wires or drill into your walls. However, if you’re not capable of installing the system yourself, you can request professional installation. Be sure to hire a LifeShield-accredited installer as doing otherwise might void your system warranty. After professional installation, you must check your system thoroughly and report any problems to LiveWatch within seven days. On the 8th day, your system is considered fully operational, and service repair requests will then be billed.
A summary of what you need to know about LifeShield’s Equipment and Monitoring:
- No Contract and Contract Options
- Landline, Broadband, and Cellular Monitoring in one base station
- 24/7 Monitoring for Burglaries, Fires, and Carbon Monoxide
- Proprietary Equipment
- 24-Hour Battery Backup
- DIY or Professional Installation
In the past, home automation wasn’t LifeShield’s strong suit. In fact, they lacked smart home services until recently. Now, LifeShield is certified to work with Z-Wave lights, locks, thermostats, and garage doors. LifeShield can connect with smart home devices from hundreds of third-party brands.
First, the app allows you to take control of your home remotely. Using the app, you can arm and disarm the system, turn lights on or off, adjust your thermostat, and more. Also, you can use the app to view local crime maps and take a quiz to get your personal “safety score” alongside tips to improve your score.
LifeShield’s app also offers interactive alerts, which allows for custom reminders. For example, “It’s 10:15 pm. You have not armed your alarm!” As you can arm and disarm the system remotely, this is extremely helpful. The system, unfortunately, does not offer geofencing.
Second, using the brand new LifeShield Alexa skill, you can control your security system and smart home devices using your voice, provided that you own an Alexa device such as Echo or Echo Dot.
Finally, the IFTTT channel lets you combine LifeShield with hundreds of smart home brands and services to create rule-based automation. IFTTT rules are created in an “If This Then That” format. For example, you might say, “If LifeShield detects an intrusion, turn Philips Hue lights red.” Also, you can use IFTTT to create workarounds. For example, while LifeShield’s app doesn’t support geofencing, you can create a rule that triggers your security system to arm whenever you leave your home by building an IFTTT Applet.
LifeShield also offers video surveillance, assuming you’re subscribed to Security Advantage or Security Professional. LifeShield offers an indoor security camera. It is viewable via the LifeShield app or the wireless controller tablet included with every system. Also, the system is capable of alert-based recordings. You can configure it to start recording if a sensor is tripped or based on a schedule. Event clips are saved to the cloud. Both the Security Advantage plan and Security Professional plan offer 30 days of cloud storage.
While LifeShield lacks an outdoor camera and a video doorbell, you can still create a relationship to such devices using IFTTT. There are several camera systems that also work with IFTTT including Arlo, Nest Cam, and Ring.
A summary of what you need to know regarding LifeShield’s smart home services:
- Video Surveillance
- Free Mobile App
- Remote Arm/Disarm
- Z-Wave Compatible
- Works With Alexa and IFTT
Customer Service & Support
The first thing you need to know about LifeShield’s customer service is that their history is too short to tell the story.
As already mentioned, LifeShield functioned as its own entity before acquisition by DirecTV. DirecTV ran LifeShield for many years before being acquired itself by AT&T, and now they’re back on their own again. Except now, there’s a horde of new rivals such as Abode, Canary, Frontpoint, Iris by Lowe’s, Scout, SimpliSafe, and Vivint.
So with LifeShield re-running solo, it’s hard to say how things will pan out. While the team behind LifeShield saw the AT&T acquisition as a negative for their customer service experience, we saw it as a positive as Digital Life offers a lot backed by an A+ rating from the BBB.
On the other hand, LifeShield is not known for customer service. They have a lower rating from the BBB (B-) with hundreds of complaints and several reviews on the website. All are negative.
So while we will have to wait to see how LifeShield does after branching out on their own again, we’ll focus on the terms and conditions you should know about before purchasing a system from LifeShield.
- Contract Length: In order to receive free equipment, you must sign a 36-month or 60-month contract; however, you don’t have to sign a contract if you purchase your equipment upfront
- Cancellation: Contracts can be canceled for free if you’re called for duty as a member of the U.S. armed forces or reserves. Otherwise, there will be a cancellation fee.
- Contract Renewal: Contracts automatically renew unless you send a written notice to LifeShield at least 60 days before your current contract ends.
- Return Policy: The return period for LifeShield is 30 days from the day you ordered the system. Even if returned on time, the return shipping fee will be deducted from your refund.
Everything you need to know regarding LifeShield’s customer service:
- 30 Day Return Policy with Return Shipping Charge
- Online Self-Help and Remote Assistance
- Contract Auto-Renews
- Cancellation Fees Apply Unless Eligible For Free Cancellation
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